The largest and most important airport in northern Italy is Milan Malpensa. Along with Rome’s Fiumicino aiport, Malpensa handles the bulk of international air traffic in Italy. I like Malpensa because the two times I’ve flown roundtrip via Malpensa, it seems more organized and less chaotic than Fiumicino.
A few details that you will find handy to know before you go
Malpensa Airport has two terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Further, Terminal 1 is divided into 1A and 1B. If you are flying to the USA you will depart from Terimal 1B designated for intercontinental and non-Schengen flights.
Departures from Malpensa are from the second level. And yes, there are elevators if you have a lot of luggage.
Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time for getting from the check-in area to your gate. Malpensa is a big airport and things are quite spread out. I hiked from check-in all the way to the other side of the B gates, about a fifteen to twenty minute walk.
Travel Tip: Arrive early and travel lightly.
There’s great shopping at Malpensa offering you one final chance to stock up on designer Italian gloves, bags, sunglasses, scarves, food and wine.
Once you arrive at the airport you’ll proceed to Check-in for you designated airline. From there you’ll get you final gate information and process to security.
If you are TSA Pre-check be sure to ask which line you should use to enter security. The Pre-check line is not well marked. In fact, I don’t recall seeing anything at all that indicated the difference in the lines. Instead of showing your boarding pass to a gate agent at the security entrance, scan the bar code on the pass to be allowed to enter the security lines. There’s one airport agent there at the entrance but they are not going to look at your boarding pass unless you ask them to.
Arriving at Malpensa:
There are many ways to arrive to Malpensa: buses, taxi (expensive), and train.
Bus options include the Malpensa Shuttle and Malpensa Bus Express. You can catch either of these buses at Milano Centrale train station. Buses cost around 8 euros and take about an hour. However keep in mind buses are subject to traffic delays.
If traveling to Malpensa by train you’ll want to take the Malpensa Express operated by Tren Nord.
The train station at Malpensa is located in Terminal 1, level 1.
Train booking tip:
As of date of this publication you can not book a ticket for the Malpensa Express online without having an account set up. Further, you can not set up the account on a mobile device, it must be done on a computer. The Tren Nord costs 12 euros. It does make stops but still gets you to the airport in about 45 minutes.